En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
4 ratings

Friday - January 07, 2011

From: Kissimmee, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Eradicating Campsis radicans in Kissimee FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am interested in information on eradicating or controlling 'cow itch' [campsis radicans?] which is spreading on an empty lot of land adjacent to an occupied dwelling. It is causing significant discomfort to the neighbor and my attempts at cutting it and treating it with herbicide are not effective. HELP!! Thank you.

ANSWER:

You probably already know what we are going to tell you-that you have a tough job ahead of you eradicating, or at least discouraging, the growth of Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper). In case you are not already sufficiently motivated to solve this problem, you might read some of the negative comments on the vine from this Dave's Garden forum website on the problems it presents.

You have apparently already been doing the first thing we would suggest, which is cutting it down, and hauling it off. You do not want to allow the plant to go to seed, which it will begin to do shortly after it begins to bloom. That, at least, will keep fresh new plants from coming up, except, of course, for the ones birds bring in. Sorry.

Next, get a full spectrum herbicide and some disposable sponge brushes. With good sharp clippers, cut off the vines close to the soil and immediately paint the cut edge with the herbicide. Doing it within 5 minutes of cutting will prevent the vine from healing over the cut to protect the roots in the ground. Finally, arrange to have the area mowed very close on a regular basis. The roots of those plants you have cut down are still going to be fighting to survive. They will put up shoots everywhere which, if you have cut away all the vines above ground, will provide the roots with new leaves to nourish the roots that remain. And, of course, those little baby vines will grow up to be big vines if left alone.

This is a tedious process, and the moral is: If it's an invasive, the best way to get rid of it is to not plant it.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Campsis radicans


Campsis radicans


Campsis radicans


Campsis radicans

 

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Silver ponyfoot becoming invasive in College Station TX
May 08, 2013 - How can I control or get rid of an established Dichondra groundcover? I bought a few plants of D. argentea from your sale a few years ago, and in that time they've done really well in the area I plan...
view the full question and answer

Grass for Seattle Arboretum
May 20, 2012 - I am writing to you on behalf of the Arboretum at South Seattle Community College Arboretum. I am interested in Panicum virgatum Switch Grass as a plant for a very heavy clay garden in our Arboretum a...
view the full question and answer

Removal of poison ivy by goat in Lone Jack MO
May 29, 2009 - Easy organic removal of poison ivy?? I bought a goat, but you can borrow a neighbors. Always get 2 as they get lonely. They love to eat poison ivy, pull up vine roots and all, and leave the grass.
view the full question and answer

Controlling invasives and using natives in New Hampshire
October 09, 2007 - What ideas would you have for marrying the subjects of native plants and invasives? This summer I volunteered to work with our town planner and recycling director on a new initiative called SNIP-IT!: ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on vitex
May 12, 2005 - I recently purchased a vitex tree and I don't know anything about it other that it blooms. Can you tell me everything there is about this tree?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center